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Tech

Schools turn to high-tech route management

Employing strategies similar to those used by UPS and FedEx, schools are curtailing fuel costs, making school bus routes more efficient and beefing up safety and security by using sophisticated routing and tracking software.
Written by ZDNET Editors, Contributor

Public schools across the country are facing even tighter budgets than in previous years, and school administrators are scrambling to find ways to manage transportation costs. So school administrators are using state-of-the-art technology to manage costs, improve services, and provide a safer environment for transporting students to and from school, eSchoolNews reports.

Employing strategies similar to those used by UPS and FedEx, schools are curtailing fuel costs, making school bus routes more efficient and beefing up safety and security by using sophisticated routing and tracking software.

"Our software enables routers to put on smaller buses that use less fuel and to conduct maintenance at the right time to improve fuel efficiency," notes Cindy Herrmann, a spokeswoman for Transfinder.

IC Corp., one of the nation's largest school bus manufacturers, has just introduced a pilot program with 10 New York school districts that integrates a GPS--or telematics--solution into their buses. The AWARE Vehicle Intelligence program, developed by IC's parent company, International Truck and Engine, helps improve overall school transportation operations though better maintenance efficiencies and immediate knowledge of vehicle location, IC officials say.

Along with emission reduction technology and retrofitting or replacing older diesel school buses, schools are also turning to alternative fuels solutions such as propane and natural gas

The bottom line on new software and technology, according to Mike Martin, executive director of the National Association for Pupil Transportation: "I've been in this industry since 1991. What I've seen is the technology curve growing steeper and steeper since the 1990s. Putting cutting-edge technology on school buses is becoming more common, and there's no turning back."
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